ROGERS PARK — Chicago DJ Steve Henderson is no longer listed as a performer in materials advertising the annual Pride North festival in Rogers Park amid objections to disparaging comments about the Black Lives Matter movement posted to his Facebook page.
A petition started by several city organizations — including the Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites, Gay Liberation Network, Lifted Voices, Love and Protect and Assata's Daughters — charged that Henderson's "racist and violent comments compromise the safety of this space for Black queer and trans people" on social media.
The comments were posted from Henderson's Facebook account in early March. They include references to Black Lives Matters protesters as "thugs." A screenshot was posted to another page calling for his ouster from the fest.
Henderson later posted elsewhere on Facebook that his page had been "hacked," and allegations that he wrote the posts at the center of the controversy had since been "proven false."
Henderson told DNAinfo that he removed himself from Pride North and that his Facebook account was "hacked." He also said he expects to be at the festival next year.
The organizations opposing his appearance also formed a Facebook group urging supporters to participate in a "call-in" to Pub 626 — the general headquarters of Pride North, owned by head organizer Colm Treacy — to demand Henderson's "immediate removal."
Pride North organizers, including Treacy, could not be immediately reached, but a line-up of entertainers at the event's two stages does not include Henderson's name. Henderson has said he was set to DJ on Sunday.
Following the call-in, Pride North posted a message Tuesday on its Facebook page from Treacy that said in part, "Any displays of racism, bigotry, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, or divisive, violent language or actions will not be tolerated.
"Any attendee, staffer, performer, DJ or guest who violates of our unity mission will be removed."
Pride North posted a comment from organizer Colm Treacy on their Facebook page Tuesday, saying they wouldn't "tolerate" negative comments and would "remove" those who made them. [Facebook/Pride North]
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